Sometimes it’s okay to watch a Maru video even though you’re supposed to be learning how entropy works, but it is not good if that’s what always happens. I’m trying to break free of checking Twitter or Facebook mid-in-person-conversation because it’s terribly rude and 999 times out of 1000, there is nothing actually of vital importance that I need to read that at that very moment. I want to know more things, but less scattershotly, and the internet now is making it difficult for someone with (frequently) the brain of the sugared 14-year-old.
(In a jar.)
Right, reading. Sometimes, I imagine how crazed I might be if I had become a teacher; I reckon I’d go full-on Mad-Eye Moody. Hell, I might have gone full Hogwarts-style, with no electronics allowed. As Muggles can’t do magic, there wouldn’t be very many distractions in class that way. I don’t envy those in the teaching profession; I can’t even get my staff to keep their smart phones in the office when we’re in ‘sell’ mode at the cinema and they’re all in their twenties. (Seriously, you can check your text messages and FB updates on your breaks. Fifteen minutes is really fucking nothing.)
That having been said, in the past I have advocated to play to the strength of and weaknesses of young people (and the not-so-young who, like me, flit from thing to thing instead of remembering to pay their bills) in teaching history. Hypocrisy, or just caught in the middle of an ethical dilemma? Un peu de both, I think.
Did you know I have a Masters degree? My dissertation was about audiovisual tools in history education and I’d been too scared to reread it in eight years; shockingly, it’s not nearly as horrible as I remembered. I understood thoroughly when I wrote it that young people have always been easily distracted and hesitant to learn through reading. This is not a new phenomenon, and though more adults seem to be falling into that trap, I need to calm the hell down about it. The distractions may be different, but not everyone is going to sit down and read The Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire. Not even me. (I suspect that my father might have, though.)
Here’s a good quote from that dissertation: ‘The time will come in less than ten years…where the children in public schools will be taught practically everything in moving pictures. Certainly, they will never be obliged to read history again.’
I wish I had had the balls to say that sort of thing, and while film pioneer D.W. Griffith wasn’t exactly right, since he said this in 1915, he was kind of onto something.
Anyway, for those who aren’t all TL;DR, I’m launching a new web project that makes use of text, hypertext, and photos to look at the history of the cinema where I work. Its home will be linked to from here, but as I’m in research mode (at least initially), not writing, its ‘launch’ is still a few weeks off (aiming for October 1 – it will be blog style, so content will be added gradually).
This is a personal project, rather than an official workplace venture, because my skills in archive research are so rusty as to give everyone around me lockjaw, and because I’m trying to teach myself more about creating multimedia websites as I go along. It’s my cheap version of my dream postgraduate program. There will be a lot of reading reading, to go along with the linkity things everyone knows and loves and gets distracted by. It will be factual, but not too serious or dull (I hope) and I hope you will read it.